Wednesday 22 November 2017

Williams dumped out in oz

Serena Williams' winning run at the Australian Open came to a shuddering halt today after she lost her fourth-round clash to Ekaterina Makarova in straight sets.

The American, seeded 12th after an injury-hit 18 months which saw her miss last year's event in Melbourne, had not lost here since going down to Jelena Jankovic in the last eight in 2008.

But she was a distant second best against Russian Makarova, who secured the biggest win of her career 6-2 6-3.

A lack of match fitness seemed to catch up with Williams in the blistering heat and world number 56 Makarova was good enough to take advantage.

She broke for a 3-2 lead in the opening set and then again for 5-2 as Williams' usually dominant serve faltered.

Williams improved at the start of the second set as she claimed a 2-0 advantage, but Makarova broke back immediately and then moved 3-2 ahead when Williams double-faulted on game point.

The momentum remained with the Russian and despite squandering three match points, she clinched it on a fourth when Williams sent a tame backhand wide.

"It's an amazing feeling," Makarova said. "It's the first time I have reached a quarter-final. It was really tough to play against her and I am really happy I finished it off."

Earlier, Ana Ivanovic's bid to reach her first grand slam quarter-final in three and a half years foundered at the hands of second seed Petra Kvitova.

Ivanovic's impressive form in Melbourne offered hope she could be reclaiming the kind of form which saw her land the 2008 French Open -- the last time she advanced to the last eight of a major -- and reach the top of the world rankings.

And although she held her own for much of the contest, especially towards the end of the second set as Kvitova's focus deserted her, the Wimbledon champion possessed too much power and guile for the Serbian.


Kvitova broke serve twice in the first set and seemed on course for a straightforward victory when she broke again for a 3-2 lead in the second.

But a freak incident in the ninth game, which saw the Czech take an airshot at a simple smash, seemed to throw her off course.

She was broken to love when serving for the match and also lost the following game to love as Ivanovic ramped up the pressure.

Kvitova regained her composure to take it to a tie-break in which Ivanovic's problems on serve resurfaced.

She delivered two double faults to slip 3-1 down and Kvitova prevented a comeback to advance to a meeting with Italian Sara Errani, who was a convincing 6-2 6-1 winner against Jie Zheng.

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